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What do I have to do when getting EI?

While you are getting EI, you must do everything listed below:

  • be ready to work and able to arrange child care when needed
  • look for work and follow up on jobs that Service Canada tells you about
  • send in weekly reports
  • report any income that you get
  • give Service Canada a record of your job search when they ask
  • meet with Service Canada when they ask
  • take part in training programs and other activities that Service Canada agrees that you can do

Employment support measures

Employment support measures are for people who want to go back to work. People who are unemployed may be able to get these benefits if they:

  • are getting EI
  • paid EI premiums in at least 3 of the last 10 years and those premiums have not been refunded/li>

There are different types of support measures. For example, they include job training programs, work placements, and financial support for job training.

Your Employment Ontario service provider must refer you to these programs. You can find your local service provider on the Employment Ontario website at ontario.ca/page/employment-ontario.

What is a job search?

A job search includes:

  • checking job ads like those in the Government of Canada’s Job Bank
  • asking friends about work
  • calling employers
  • applying for work

Keep a record of your job search and follow up on any leads. Make notes about where you look and who you talk to. Keep copies of all job ads, letters, and applications.

What information do I have to report?

You must send a report to Service Canada for each week that you get benefits. In these reports, you must say if you:

  • worked and, if you did, how much you earned
  • received any other money
  • were sick or injured
  • were available for work each weekday

How do I report the information?

You can report this information online or by phone. If you cannot report in either of these ways, you can report by filling out special cards and mailing them.

Soon after you apply, you get a letter in the mail from Service Canada that says “important Employment Insurance information for you” at the top.

This letter tells you when you must make your first report. It will also give you your access code. It has 4 numbers and is near the middle of the letter.

You need your access code to report online or by phone. The letter comes with instructions about how to use Service Canada’s reporting service.

If your reports are late, missing information, or not filled out correctly, your payment will be delayed.

Reporting online

If you fill in your report online, follow the instructions carefully. After you answer each question, you must confirm your answer.

Once you finish your report, the system will confirm that your report was received. It will also tell you when to make your next report. Be sure to write down this date. You cannot make your next report before then.

Usually, you have to report every 2 weeks.

If you realize later that you made a mistake in your report, call 1-800-206-7218 and press zero. TTY users, call 1-800-529-3742.

Call as soon as possible during business hours.

Reporting by telephone

You can call the telephone reporting service at 1-800-531-7555. When you use the service, you have to answer several questions. It is important to answer each question correctly. After you answer each question, you must confirm that your answer is right.

When you finish your report, a message tells you when to make your next report. Be sure to write down this date. You cannot make your next report before then. Usually, you have to report every 2 weeks.

Do not hang up the phone until you are told that your report was successful. If you hang up before that, your report will probably not go through and you will have to start again.

If you realize later that you made a mistake in your report, call 1-800-206-7218 and press zero. TTY users, call 1-800-529-3742.

Call as soon as possible during business hours.

Can I earn money while I am getting EI?

Yes, but half of the amount you earn is taken off your EI benefits.

This applies as long as you do not earn more than 90% of the average insurable earnings your benefit was based on. All of the money you earn above that 90% is taken off your benefits.

“Average insurable earnings” is the amount EI considers you were making before you lost your job. For more information, see How much will I get from EI?

If your earnings are the same as, or more than, your average insurable earnings, you get no EI benefits that week. This means that your EI benefits can never make your total income in any week go higher than your average insurable earnings.

Also, when you work a full work week, you do not get any benefits for that week. This applies no matter how little you earn.

You must report all of your earnings in your reports. If EI finds out that you are not reporting all of your earnings, the full amount you earned is taken off your benefits. You will probably get other penalties as well.

Read more in What happens if I give information that is not true?

Do I have to take any job?

No, but you must apply for and accept any job that Service Canada thinks is suitable for you.

A job can be suitable if:

  • your health and physical abilities allow you to commute to work and do the job,
  • the hours you have to work fit with your family duties or religious beliefs, and
  • doing the work would not be against your religious or moral beliefs.

A job is not suitable if it is available because of a strike or lockout.

You can start looking for a job doing the type of work you usually do or a job that has similar pay and work conditions.

But if you do not find a job after what Service Canada thinks is a “reasonable” time, they can tell you that you must look for other types of jobs. This even includes jobs that pay less than you usually earn.

Service Canada will disqualify you for 7 to 12 weeks if they decide that:

  • you refused to take a suitable job, or
  • you knew about one but did not apply for it.

This means that you do not get any regular EI benefits for that period of time.

If you disagree with this, you can ask Service Canada to reconsider the decision. This means that you are asking them to review and change it. You must do this in writing within 30 days. For more information, see What if I do not agree with a decision about EI?

What if I take a job but get fired or quit?

If you take a job while you are getting EI and then quit without just cause, your benefits will be cut off. This applies even if the job was only part-time. Just cause means you had to quit because you had no other reasonable choice.

There is more information about just cause in What if I had just cause for quitting?

For this reason, it can be a mistake to accept work that is not suitable or that you cannot handle. But if you refuse work that Service Canada thinks is suitable, you will be disqualified for 7 to 12 weeks. So it can be hard to know what is the best thing to do.

Try to get help and advice before you decide. See Where can I get help and information?

Your EI will also be cut off if you take a job while you are getting benefits and then get fired for misconduct.

But your EI benefits should not be affected if your employer fires you because:

  • the job is not suitable for you, or
  • you were not able to do the job.

For more information about misconduct, see Can I get EI if I was fired?

If you are cut off or disqualified for any of these reasons, you can ask Service Canada to reconsider the decision. This means to review and change it.

You must do this in writing within 30 days. For more information, see How do I ask for a reconsideration?

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